Traditions, foods and history

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What is Hanukkah

Hanukkah starts on the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev which occurs late November, late December on the secular calendar. Hanukkah is a Jewish tradition that they celebrate every year. It is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Basically children were sad because they didn't get gifts like the Christians, so they started Hanukkah to make them happy and to keep learning about the history of the Jews.
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The Menorah

All during Hanukkah, a family will light one candle per day on the menorah using the ninth middle one called a Shamash to light the other candles and let it burn. The next day they light the second one and keep going till the end of Hanukkah. They light candles because after the temple was destroyed, they tried to rededicate the temple and relight the menorah.The problem was there was only enough oil to light the candle for a day and they wouldn't be able to light another candle the next day. But, they lit it anyway, and a miracle happened when it stayed lit all eight days. So now, it is a representation of the eternal light when lighting candles on a menorah during Hanukkah.
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Also known as a top, people play with dreidels on Hanukkah for fun. Jews play it because it is a fun pastime for both children and adults. This game has an ancient history. The dreidel has 4 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, printed on each of its side, and they are Nun, Gimel, Hay and Shin. The way you play is if you get Nun, you don't win nor lose, you do nothing. Gimmel, you win the whole pot. Hay, you win half the pot, and Shin, you have to put something in the pot. Then it goes on to the next player and continues in a circle till someone won everything. This used to be a game of life or death to the Greek Syrians. They took this game very seriously. They tried to change the Jews to Greek Syrians by being nice and offering them to play dreidel with them. The Jews stayed loyal to their religion, except for a small portion who became Hellenized. This is now a game of fun and a time for everyone to get together and have a good time.

Click below to see the dreidel song. Once your on the link website, scroll down a bit and watch the video!!!!


Hanukkah Traditional Foods

Here is some traditional foods eaten during Hanukkah. Loukoumades are fried puffs dipped in sugar or honey to represent the cakes the Maccabees ate. Pancakes are also traditional as a reminder of what the Maccabees made hurriedly while they were at war. Latkes were originally symbolic of the cheesecakes served by the widow Judith, and later changed to the potato/vegetable fried latkes most known today. Many cheeses and dairy foods are ate in memory of the brave Judith. A newer tradition in the United States is baking butter cookies or pretzels in the shape of Hanukkah symbols also relating with stories. This is exciting for kids because they can learn while eating something good or making it. There is many other donut like things, pastries, fried goods, and much more, but these are the main dishes people eat during Hanukkah.


People get presents on Hanukkah because the Christians got presents and the children wanted presents on Hanukkah, too. There is also presents because the Jews wanted a Christmas like holiday where everyone gets presents, so now Hanukkah is one of them. People usually get coins, candy, stuffed animals, clothes, dreidels, and mostly money. Money is very common because it's like a tradition for most adults and some children because they would rather go buy whatever they want rather than getting presents. The money they give is called Chanukah Gelt.


So basically, Hanukkah is a holiday that Jewish people celebrate in honor of the Jewish and Roman war and of rededicating the temple. Kids and parents enjoy celebrating this holiday because it is a fun way to remember the past and for the families to get together and eat traditional foods and have a good time! ;)